Following on from Hugh’s inspired example, I am also going to answer Shel’s questions through my blog.
thanks for considering me for this project. I’m deeply honoured to be included.
Here we go:
1. You were among the first Irish bloggers to build international relationships. How has this impacted you and your career?
Shel, this has had a tremendous consequences for my career. It has raised my profile internationally and as a direct result, I have received speaking invitations and consulting gigs from all over Europe. In the last number of weeks, for example, I have been to Las Vegas, Bilbao, Copenhagen and Madrid.
And all this international recognition has also translated into increased credibility (and therefore more business) at home.
2. Describe the evolution to date of social media in Ireland. What tools came in when and what tools do you see being the strongest moving forward?
Social Media uptake still has a long way to go in Ireland before it becomes common in the workplace, for example. LinkedIn is probably the Social Networking business tool with the greatest penetration here. And most users of LinkedIn here would probably not be familiar with the expression Social Networking.
Facebook is making some inroads into this space recently but still has a ways to go.
Other tools like blogs, podcasts and wikis are starting to receive attention from the business community but more from the perspective of a marketing tool. There is not enough talk about using social media behind the firewall for facilitating/improving internal company communications.
3. Have many Irish businesses adopted social media tools? If not, why do you suppose not. If yes, how are they using them?
As I mentioned above, the uptake is poor enough. The majority of users of Social Media software tends to be amongst the technology companies for obvious reasons.
The main reasons for the poor uptake, so far, are a combination of a lack of understanding of the benefits which accrue from Social Media, in company inertia, and time poverty!
Social media arose out of the downturn of the tech industry in the early 00’s. Many very clever people had time to invest in learning/writing new Social Media apps. Now that the economy is booming once more, people have less time to spend on investigating new business practices.
4. Is broadband still the formidable barrier that it was when we last talked? Do you see a workaround coming?
The rollout of broadband in Ireland is still quite poor in terms of speed and penetration compared to the rest of the OECD but the situation has improved somewhat in the last couple of years. Mobile broadband is starting to take off with O2 offering 3mb HSDPA for â‚¬30 per month. This offering is supposed to ramp up to 14.4mb in the next 12 months. This is going to put serious pressure on the DSL offerings who are currently offering 3mb for â‚¬40 per month.
5. How much of Irish social media is work related?
The vast majority of Social Media consumption in Ireland is non-work related (think YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, etc.). And a lot of the work-related uses of Social Media are for personal profile building as opposed to corporate brand management.
Having said that, as more young people make it into the workforce, Social Media tools are leaking into the workplace as frustrated employees deploy them to work around the strictures of more traditional Intranets.
6. What social media trends do you see moving forward?
- Increased opening of APIs (and therefore mashups of functionality)
- Increased deployment of Social Media tools on corporate Intranets
- Increased rollout of ERP applications capable of publishing events as RSS feeds and the requisite client apps necessary to consume them
7. Do you see any way that social impact is changing Irish impact with EU or the US? Why or why not?
Situated at the Western edge of Europe and being primarily an English-speaking country, Ireland has always looked to the UK and US as markets of choice ahead of our EU partner countries. The higher usage of Social Media in the US means that it will be easier to network (and therefore learn of/create business opportunities) with US based companies over and above their EU counterparts.
8. What social, business and tech trends do you see emerging?
- Radical transparency -> Meritocracy
- Improved products and improved customer service
- Increased focus by companies on brand management
- More adoption of open standards by companies leading to greater buy-in from consumers
9. Can you give me a couple of brief case studies of Irish business using social media in interesting or successful ways?
Unfortunately Shel, I’m only aware of one case study done on Irish business using social media in interesting or successful ways. However also check out:
- Murphys Ice Cream and Bubble Brothers – two small Irish companies in the food and drink sector using blogs to promote their business.
- it@cork – a not-for-profit, IT professionals networking organisation which uses blogs and podcasts to promote the organisation and its events and conferences
- CIX – CIX is documenting the building of one of the most energy efficient data centres in the world on its site (which is running on blog software).
[Disclosure – I am a director of CIX and am chair of the it@cork conference committee]
10. Additional comments.
As I dashed this off, all of the above is likely to be wildly inaccurate or missing key bits that I overlooked. Please feel free to correct me/expand on my observations/meanderings in the comments of this post or better yet, in a post in your own blog. Shel has said that he will be delighted to get as many insights into this as possible.
UPDATED: Post updated to add a link to Aonach’s case study on WordPress